The Omicron Matter – A Working Vacation – Airship Travel to Prague


A new chapter starts in the Omicron Matter – A Working Vacation. Smith and Millicent have worked out the details of the groups working together. The two groups are ready to start making to Omicron devices for the two ships. But they need some materials. Millicent has decided to make it an excursion to Prague along which she will fulfill some promises she made to others and herself.  The chapter opens with Eleanor and John working the bridge of an airship traveling to Prague.

For those who are new to The Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.

Authors note

There are some in the Steam Punk string who probably wonder why I post there. My answer would be “it’s a science fiction story set in Victorian England – it seems a good fit.” But Steam Punk purists might disagree: I don’t have monsters (yet); I don’t have magic; I don’t have many fanciful machines. So this chapter (or section) is a small nod to the Steam Punk genre – I’ve got an airship sequence! I am adding subsections to the chapters.

I got far behind on my navigation and house keeping. I am working on getting that back in good working order.

Thanks for your support. Look for more on Wednesday.

Airship Travel to Prague

Crossing the Channel

Millicent sat in an observers chair on the bridge and watched Eleanor Woodson guide the airship as if she had been doing it a life time.  Eleanor was nervous because she hadn’t. She had flown on a few trips on University excursions on small vessels with an instructor watching. But she had never been fully in control and none of the flights were on anything as large as this one.  She watched the gauges in front of her and shouted commands to John O’Malley who adjusted valves and threw switches. He had regularly worked on the machinery of ships this size so he seemed completely comfortable in the exercise as they started to cross the Channel.  Eleanor’s one weakness was navigation and Charles, under protest and a blanket of derisive remarks, supplied direction. Charles, from the notebook said, “Take a course of east south east and hold that for six hours.  You know we would be in Prague by now and you could be having lunch in an hour.”

Simone was also in an observer’s chair and said, “Felicity made us a scrumptious luncheon and we can eat that whilst Eleanor and John do their finest.”  She was staying close to Eleanor now because she could, not because she had to.

Eleanor was certain she heard a “Hmph” from the notebook.

Millicent had used connections with John, the Dean, and even Winifred Stanhope to finagle the use of this airship without a crew. After a few extra pounds and a hefty insurance policy, Eleanor was getting her chance to fly a dirigible.  John was a fully qualified support engineer. The two of them had spent the last week in London going over the specifics of their ship and practicing scenarios in the Environmental Lab which Charles had, with dripping sarcasm, simulated as an airship bridge. “Oh my…there’s a gas leak in bladder five. Whatever shall happen…please kill me now. You know …in the time it takes for bladder five to empty, I could launch, travel and land in Prague.” Millicent had a private talk with Charles and, afterwards he aided in the simulations in a sulky and silent fashion.

And so now the group was on the trip. Edward Wayland had declined. He had made it clear from the beginning that, while he was grateful to Millicent for her efforts to free him, he had had quite enough of strange beings controlling his destiny.  Millicent was disappointed on multiple levels. Edward was a talented chemist and she was certain his skills would be useful to their efforts in the short term and highly marketable in the long term.  She also felt the galaxy had made a mistake and needed a chance to make it right. In the end, she suggested he spend some time with Stephan in Dunstable. She suggested that he just escape the London grime and enjoy the country life for a couple of weeks. . She also hoped that some time outside of London would refresh his view of life.  Stephan would understand his trials and might prescribe the right combination of work, socializing, and information to ease Edward Wayland’s torments.

Liam, Rachael, Jason, Felicity and Michael were below on the observation deck. Liam was, no doubt, mixing drinks. Michael and Felicity would be admiring the passing terrain.  Rachael would probably be close to Liam. She had expressed sympathy and solidarity with Charles, especially after seeing the lack of accessible features on their transportation.  Jason would probably be reviewing his father’s notebooks. The early start had been challenging for all but Jason, Eleanor and John. But during the eight hour flight they would cross Belgium, Germany, Austria and have dinner in Prague.

Taking the ship would have been quicker, but there would have been no easy way to get from some rural house to downtown Prague.  That logistics issue had finally tempered Charles a bit. Millicent did not have any warehouses in Prague for the ship to stay and land.  They would have to leave the ship and him behind anyway and London was as good as some far away barn on the edge of Prague.

Charles provided the latest estimated arrival, “With the favorable winds, we should arrive in Prague in five and one half hours – I could go to Jupiter in that amount of time.” Millicent commented back, “but the beer isn’t nearly as good and the number of dance halls is very limited.”

Eleanor told John to adjust the fuel mix on engine three and then said, “Charles! I have been waiting 10 years to do this. If you won’t shut up and let me have my fun, I will have Simone take the notebook downstairs and have O’Hannigan and McNeill regale you with Celtic ballads and drinking songs.” Simone stifled a small laugh.  John smiled broadly. Millicent only nodded knowingly at Eleanor and winked. The notebook said, “You wouldn’t dare.”

“I made back up maps in the environmental lab after the second day of your whining.  After all, what if communications went down or your notebook got misplaced? I have to be able to manage from up here without you if necessary. It’s just prudent.”

“Celtic ballads and drinking songs?”

John said, “Liam’s ‘O Danny Boy’ makes the street cats cry.”

Eleanor continued, “John and I have been doing practice runs in this bridge for a week. I have a bit of wheelhouse experience and John knows the machines without you.  It will be easier with your help, but Europe is hard to miss and I am sure I can stop along the way and get directions if I have to. I was given command of this bridge and I intend to exercise it. Are we clear?”

John stood straight and made a sharp salute. The notebook remained silent for a bit, “Unless you need me, Captain, I will be talking with Betsy. At least she understands the troubles I endure for you lot.”

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